What Exactly Is Software Engineering and What Do Software Engineers Do?
Software engineering broadly refers to the practice of building, maintaining, and improving computer software and networking systems. Software engineers, in turn, have extensive knowledge of coding languages, software development, and engineering principles.
By applying such principles, software engineers conduct complex analyses to develop customized systems and software products based on their clients’ unique demands. This process is usually preceded by intensive studying of specified system requirements and limitations.
While software engineer job descriptions will vary across industries and employers, most professionals can expect to share the same core set of responsibilities. These include but are not limited to:
- Improving systemic operations by conducting system analysis and recommending procedural changes
- Investigating systemic, network, and product bugs
- Developing new software solutions that suit current business or consumer needs
- Documenting solutions for non-technical stakeholders via visualized charts, diagrams, layouts, and other illustrated materials
- Obtaining and licensing software as needed
As you apply to jobs, remember to tailor your resume and cover letter to the role specifications laid out in the role description!
How Long Does It Take to Become a Software Engineer?
The answer depends on you! The time required to become a software engineer will vary based on your desired academic route. For example, a typical college education, such as a degree in computer science, takes around four years to complete and spreads instruction out across seasonal semesters. The pursuit of a degree is a slow but thorough process, and graduation stands as a notable achievement.
However, if you want to get started with a job in coding sooner and get valuable job experience while you continue to work toward completing the required skill sets of software engineers, you can also consider enrolling in a bootcamp or learning on your own. Most bootcamp courses range from three to six months. During this time, instruction is often quick and intensive, focusing on helping learners build job-ready web development skills as quickly as possible.
Independent learners face the most uncertainty when it comes to establishing timelines. Generally speaking, motivated learners could teach themselves coding basics within a year or so — however, this span can grow or shrink according to their self-imposed schedule, availability, and aptitude for independent study.